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ISA Seminar Day 2: There is more to India than IT, assert experts

ISA Seminar Day 2: There is more to India than IT, assert experts

Author | Pritie S Jadhav | Monday, Apr 24,2006 8:30 AM

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ISA Seminar Day 2: There is more to India than IT, assert experts

Quoting Michael Potter, “There are no low tech industries, but there are only low tech companies,” Momentum Strategy Consultants Managing Director, Dharen Chadha, began the Day 2 proceedings of the seminar organized by the Indian Society of Advertisers. He averred, “India can do better if we could do away with not segregating our companies as sunrise and sunset industries. Personally, I feel agriculture and the like industries are where our people are and we should be looking very positively at these areas.”

Taking over as the first speaker of the morning session, which was themed ‘Opportunities to build global brands from non-IT sectors’, Subir Rao, author and Associate Editor of Business Standard, said, “IT is the only sector in which Indian capabilities have truly arrived and now, slowly but surely, Indian companies are emerging as globally competitive. Today, India is changing and has changed fantastically and it is necessary to reformulate the rules of the game. The state of physical logistics is much better today and going forward, we will see a whole degree of public private partnerships.”

Looking away from IT to other sectors, Roy said, “Pharma is one sector where India has achieved global recognition. In fact, pharma in India had arrived much before IT, but we were embarrassed to talk about it, but now the discipline has become much more robust and today, Indian companies are acquiring international manufacturing companies. The other areas where India can really look up to include the R&D sector as global companies are setting up their research and development centres here in India.”

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Chennai, spoke on leveraging India. He started with quoting a few statistics, “India has a billion people and is a large market, but only at the right price point. There are 135 million rural households and 65 million urban households in India. The story of telecom is the story of understanding the Indian market. The Indian entertainment industry is also one of the biggest drivers globally, and following in the telecom footsteps is the airlines industry in India. The auto sector is also booming and Indian vehicles like the Scorpio and Tata cars are comparable to the best of the world. India is indeed destined to become the leader in the auto components sector. The world today is flat and the growth of IT and IT-enabled services is legendary.”

“The above were the visible aspects of Indian growth, but there are a few non-visible aspects, which also are the limiting factors – engineering education in India and uneven quality is a major problem. Our politics is an obstacle to growth and we have made plenty of mistakes, but we have corrected them at the nick of time. India has to look at attracting and retaining talent. India has changed immensely in the last 15 years and IT and telecom industries have triggered this change. We have the skills, but we need to invest enormously in sharpening them,” concluded Jhunjhunwala.

Ravi Naware, Divisional Chief Executive, Foods Division, ITC Ltd, shared the passion of the company to take the food brand ‘Kitchens of India’ global. “There is no other country in the world than India, which has such a wide variety of food. All over the world people are getting health conscious and India offers them a great choice. Thus, we do not want to export the brand ‘Kitchens of India’ but want to establish the brand as the brand of the mainstream consumer in the global market,” explained Naware.

The next topic of the day was ‘The Indian national character as a competitive advantage’ and Dr Sudhir Kakar, an author and psychoanalyst, took the audience back to the school book days explaining the Indian-ness of the Indian organisation and how it compares with the global companies. He pointed out that India faired very well in human orientation, but it could do with being more assertive and performance oriented.

Shanti Ekambaram, Group Head, Corporate and Institutional Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank, along with Kurush Grant, Divisional Chief Executive, India Tobacco Division, ITC Ltd, spoke about the ‘Role and significance of the Indian domestic market in global competitiveness’. Ekambaram explained the need for a strong presence of Indian companies if they had to be globally competitive. She said, “It is important to build a strong domestic brand. For Indian companies with global aspirations, having local expertise is very critical. Also, with international borders blurring, the Indian middle class is going to be the big growth driver for India.” Grant offered a contratarian view of value capture and said that value capture had to be inclusive.

As the final speaker of the morning session, Kamlesh Pandey spoke of the ‘Role of Indian soft power in branding’. He spoke at length about how Hollywood had borrowed its themes from the rich Indian culture and Indian mythology. “Hollywood has the body but we have the soul. We have realised it and now it is important to package and market our films well and take Hindi films and India to the world,” he said.

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